Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>Captain America
SubjectCaptain America
Culture: American pop culture
Setting: Marvel Comics

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Superheroes 2008 p47
"Superheroes, like jazz, movies, and baseball, are quintessentially American.  Not only do they embody the ideals and values as well as the myths and beliefs of American society, but they also reflect them back in ways that have shaped that society.  Since superheroes, by definition, are avatars of law and order, justice and authority, equality and tolerance, they are concerned primarily with the preservation of the social order.  In the conflict between good and evil, on which traditional superhero narratives are based, the cause for which comics heroes are enlisted is the good fight, which usually involves upholding American utopianism as expressed in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
    "Like most pop-culture phenomena, superhero comics both reflect and respond to real-world social and political conflicts.  During the Golden Age (1938-56), they responded to World War II by co-opting their heroes to fight fascism.  Some, notably Captain America and Wonder Woman, made this fight their entire mission.  In his debut on the cover of Captain America Comics No. 1, March 1941, Captain America, the creation of writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby, is depicted punching Hitler in the face.  Similarly, Wonder Woman, the brainchild of William Moulton Marston, made her cover debut in Sensation Comics No. 1, January 1942, against a montage of Washington buildings including the Capitol and the White House.  Story after story, both heroes battled the Nazis and the 'Japs' (the denigration employed during the war years) with dialogue straight out of Vaudeville."

* Misiroglu ed. 2004 p111
"Captain America may not be the first patriotic superhero -- that title belongs to the Shield -- but he is by far the most enduring and most widely recognized of those wrapped in the red, white, and blue.  Probably more than any other character of the last sixty years, the good Captain has been rendered by artists and writers to reflect the mood of the nation.  In March 1941, Captain America's creators, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, fashioned his origin after the simplicity of a prewar America: Having been rejected by the army, effete beanpole Steve Rogers volunteers to be a guinea pig for the government's top-secret super soldier serum.  One injection from the brilliant Professor Reinstein and the pale army reject is transformed into the steel-jawed, muscle-rippling Captain America, complete with red-white-and-blue costume, winged mask, chain mail shirt, and starts-and-stripes shield.  His mission is clear: 'We shall call you Captain America, Son!  Because like you -- America shall gain the strength and will to safeguard our shores!'  Reinstein gets shot and his Nazi assassins soon taste the swift, hard knuckles of the nation's newest hero.  In due course, Rogers joins the army, acquires a kid sidekick -- plucky regimental mascot Bucky Barnes -- and embarks on a career of enthusiastic Nazi-bashing."


​* Superheroes 2008 p47
​"Captain America and Wonder Woman, quite literally, wore their flag-waving fervor on their sleeves.  Appropriating and mobilizing the patriotic emotions attendant on their creations, both characters sported red, white, and blue costumes that were composites of the American flag."